Exploratory study of governance tokens and decentralised ecosystems

Supervisor(s)Ass.-Prof. Dr. Svetlana Abramova


On decentralised platforms, code defines the rules of a given system or service (e.g., decentralised exchange, decentralised autonomous organisation). This gives a lot of power to the developers who write this code. Therefore, many systems seek to let a larger community participate in rule-setting. A common approach is to issue and distribute special virtual assets, called “governance tokes”. Owners of governance tokens can propose or vote on code updates, ranging from rather small parameter changes to major revisions.

The aim of this thesis is to study existing proposals and governance tokens and how they are used for collective decision making. This involves collecting and describing the existing mechanisms with regards to issuance, distribution, transfer, and use of governance tokens. For selected examples, the thesis should empirically measure to which extent and for what decisions token owners actually do exercise their power.


Cryptocurrency basics (with a focus on Ethereum), programming skills


  • The Wharton School. DeFi Beyond the Hype: The Emerging World of Decentralized Finance. 2021. https://wifpr.wharton.upenn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/DeFi-Beyond-the-Hype.pdf The University of Pennsylvania.
  • Multi.io Research. Explained: DeFi Governance Tokens. 2020. https://medium.com/multi-io/explained-defi-governance-tokens-23a76e4df543.